Nov. 3, 2007

Each week, Gameday+ takes a look at an Ohio State game played on this date:

Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 17

Setup: Coming off a shellacking at the hands of Urban Meyer and Florida in the 2006 Bowl Championship Series final, not much was expected of Ohio State in 2007. Without quarterback Troy Smith and others, the Buckeyes started the season ranked No. 11 — but did nothing but rise when higher-ranked teams dropped like swatted flies because of a rash of upsets. Despite an embarrassingly weak schedule, OSU took over as the nation’s No. 1 team after beating Kent State on Oct. 13 but nearly spit the bit three weeks later when Wisconsin came calling on sun-splashed Ohio Stadium to face the 9-0 Buckeyes.

 

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Stars: Chris “Beanie” Wells took over in the second half and finished with 169 yards rushing and three touchdowns as the Buckeyes scored 28 consecutive points after falling behind 17-10 in the third quarter. Brian Robiskie caught two TD passes and, on defense, Vernon Gholston tied an Ohio State record with four sacks and James Laurinaitis was in on 19 tackles.

Turning point: After scoring runs of 31 and 30 yards by Wells gave OSU a 24-17 lead on the second play of the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes forced a Wisconsin punt. The Badgers considered running a fake punt — one had worked for a big gain earlier — but decided against it. Everyone got the message except UW punter Ken DeBauche, who was stopped short on a fourth-and-3 run. Four plays later, Robiskie made a one-handed catch of an 8-yard Todd Boeckman pass for a 31-17 lead.

Impact: The Buckeyes were bit by the upset bug the next week at home against Juice Williams and Illinois — but even that shocking loss wasn’t enough to keep OSU from gaining a second straight appearance in the BCS final. Ohio State even went back to No. 1 — and was thumped 38-24 by LSU in New Orleans.

Quotable: “After a game like today, you’ve just got to thank whoever made (a football game) 60 minutes.” — fullback Dionte Johnson, remarking on OSU losing a second-half lead for the first time all season

Ray Stein | rstein@dispatch.com